Arthritis pain can cause you to move less because the pain in your joints may increase when you start moving. But being stationary isn’t a great long-term solution. Staying active is important to your overall health. And staying active can help keep your joints mobile.
Over time, the right kinds of activity can help you manage joint pain by strengthening the surrounding muscles (which provides stability). Movement can also help counteract stiffness, leading to easier movement and less pain.
Here are four tips to help you stay active with arthritis.
Use the right equipment.
The right joint brace or cane can help you maximize comfort and stability. It may take a few tries to find the right one for you.
Warm up your joint before you use it.
One way to warm up your joint is by applying a hot pack to it about 20 minutes before you exercise. Once you’re moving, start with slower movements and build to your maximum effort over a few minutes.
See a physical therapist.
They can give you exercises that will help strengthen your muscles. This will help support your joints — especially when you’re physically active. Your physical therapist can also advise you on good warm-up activities and help you evaluate the fit of canes and joint braces (if you use them).
Choose a low-impact activity you enjoy.
Good options include walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, and tai chi. Low-impact exercise allows you to stay active and mobilize your joints without putting excessive stress on weight-bearing joints (like your knees).